Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Speech Communication

First Advisor

Andrew A. King


The Arabs and Israelis have been negotiating peace for the past ten years; however, the conflict still ignites with no apparent hope for any near resolution. Understanding the rhetorical construction of the peace reality may help in managing this conflict. This study examines the symbolic construction of the peace process in the Arab and Israeli press. It comparatively studies how the Arab and Israeli press, through language choice, define peace, elucidate its implications, and judge actors and actions involved in the peace process. This study identifies the metaphors used and the dominant rival frames constructed in two conflicting newspapers, Assafir (Lebanese newspaper) and The Jerusalem Post (Israeli newspaper) in their coverage of the peace process in 1993 and 1996. Then the study contrasts the different perspectives of the two papers in order to specify the point of conflict and check if any basis of "shared values" exists across the perspectives that might be useful as a basis for negotiations. The analysis is based on the media framing and agenda setting theories as well as Johnson and Lakoff's metaphorical analysis paradigm. This study reveals the power of metaphors, images, and symbols in the discourse of peace. This discourse is surrounded with language of violence, victimhood and accusations; a discourse that casts pessimism on any chance for cooperation and peaceful resolutions. Similar terms repeat themselves but are treated differently. The image of victimhood is present in both papers but attached to two different parties. In their characterization of actors, both papers follow the same strategy with similar agenda setting geared toward two different groups. Both papers discipline their readers with opposite doxas. The study concludes that both papers are involved in a rhetoric of stasis. Both seem to cooperate in producing a deadlock. This dissertation reveals that rival perspectives can be collaborative as well as competitive. Both can cooperate to spread an atmosphere of ambiguity, passivity and pessimism. Finally, the use of framing contributed less to the understanding of the dilemma than the patterns of imagery. Future studies should look at how imagery opens options and creates new ways of considering solutions.